By Lydia Koh and Leslie Lau
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 ― Both national bowler Noor Afizal Azizan and Chuah Guan Jiu, two young men who escaped jail terms despite raping 13- and 12-year-old girls respectively, may be classed as paedophiles, according to international medical standards and psychiatrists here, suggesting the courts may have freed sexual predators who might repeat their crime.
The World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) categorises paedophilia as “a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of pre-pubertal or early pubertal age.”
And according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) used by mental health professionals globally, paedophilia is the sexual attraction to pubescent or pre-pubescents aged 13 or younger, and the subject must be 16 or older with the child at least five years younger.
Noor Afizal was 19 when he committed the offence while the girl he raped was 13, or six years his junior.
In the case of Chuah, he was 21 at the time of the offence, while his victim was 12 ― a nine-year gap between the two.
The age differences between the perpetrators and the victims in both cases fall within both the ICD and DSM criteria for paedophilia.
While both the Court of Appeal in the case of Noor Afizal and the Sessions Court in the matter of Chuah took into account the perpetrators’ youth, international research of paedophilia as a sexual disorder suggests that paedophiles start offending at a young age.
Yesterday, 22-year-old Chuah was released on a three-year, RM25,000 good behaviour bond by the Sessions Court in George Town, Penang.
The decision is likely to further stoke existing public outrage following the case of national bowler Noor Afizal, who was let off from serving jail time after a Court of Appeal decision reversed an earlier High Court ruling and bound him over for good behaviour.
Mental health professionals whom The Malaysian Insider spoke to here said that while it was impossible to diagnose both Noor Afizal and Chuah without meeting them, they agreed that the offenders’ age difference with their victims and the ages of the two girls met the definition of paedophilia.
They said that the court had been wrong not to consider these aspects.
One psychiatrist, who declined to be named, said: “Paedophilia is a psychological condition. Usually, the root of it is that the person is sexually or socially inadequate so they find minors who are generally easier to impress.
“Paedophiles find it difficult to court older women or men. However, minors tend to be less judgmental about the paedophile’s sexual ability. There is no scientific cure for paedophilia but with psychotherapy and psychological treatment, the symptoms and urges are reduced.”
Another psychiatrist of over 20 years’ experience added that the cause of paedophilia is a disorder in the frontal part of the brain that makes sufferers feel sexually inadequacy.
“Some of the causes could be sexual preferences, in-born, hormones and upbringing. Another cause could be because they have been abused sexually as a child.
“Perpetrators need proper assessment to be diagnosed as a paedophile. Behavioural treatment actually helps paedophiles to deal with the issue,” the mental health professional added.